Deborah Crabtree, of Honolulu, Hawaii tragically lost her husband to cancer on Aug. 3. The bank to which he owed money, Bank of America, didn’t even wait for a day after his death to begin calling Crabtree to remind her that her husband had missed a $3,000 mortgage payment on their home.
Crabtree told Bank of America that she had $5,000 on hand, and that she needed this money to buy food and bury her husband. Convinced that Crabtree should be using this money to pay them, Bank of America repeatedly “robo-called” Crabtree during her husband’s wake, sometimes with only 15 minutes between each call.
Now, Crabtree is suing the bank, alleging that it called her up to 48 times a day, even repeatedly demanding evidence that her husband was dead, and once receiving it, losing it. Crabtree’s complaint cites the emotional distress and mental anguish caused by Bank of America’s behavior.
The local NBC news affiliate covered Crabtree’s case. After reaching out to Bank of America, the station says that it did eventually cease the calls after learning of Mr. Crabtree’s death. Watch it:
Earlier this month, CNNMoney published a piece on banks and other financial entities seeking debts of the deceased from mourners. It notes that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there are prohibitions against “third-party debt collectors…collecting debts at ‘inconvenient times’ and harassing customers.” However, this law only applies to “third-party debt collectors, not the banks — which are regulated by individual states.”